Council Preview

By John Swartz

Monday night’s 7 p.m. regular Orillia council meeting leads off with a deputation by Stan Mathewson regarding a budget request for Sustainable Orillia.

He is also reporting on the financial outcome of the launch event which happened in May at Lakehead University. They received $10,000 from the City and $3,500 in other contributions and did not go over budget for the event. Part of the activity involved collecting workable ideas for combating climate change on a local level; they received 197 such ideas, of which the organization is creating a plan to promote 50 of those as the best, easiest and lowest cost ones to be implemented over the next year.

The group plans to incorporate which will help them pursue grants from other sources. They are targeting federal sustainable development grants of $99,500  and Trillium Grow grants of $83,300 annually over three years and are asking council to budget $15,000 for 2020 to help cover operating expenditures like insurance, accounting and office supplies.

Notices of Motion

Mayor Steve Clarke has a notice of motion on the agenda. Notice of motion items are dealt with right away, by-passing committee meetings and confirmation at the next regular meeting. Orillia is hosting an Opioids and Other Drugs in Our Community forum Oct. 22 in council chambers. The mayor is asking council to make parking free in lots 6 and 9 from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The City is partnering with the Simcoe Muskoka Opioid Strategy and Orillia Drug Strategy Task Force groups for the forum.

All parking lot revenue goes into the parking reserve account and the amount expected to be waive by allowing free parking is $368.

Too Many Guns

Councillor Ralph Cipolla also has a notice of motion. He would like council to pass a resolution stating: “the Premier of Ontario be requested to call on all levels of government to collaborate with police services to reintroduce and withstand efforts to effectively address the issues associated with gun violence and gangs.”

The resolution also calls on the premier to put pressure on the federal government to introduce mandatory minimum sentencing for possession of illegal firearms (5 years), use of a firearm during an offence (7 to 10 years), and minimum sentencing for trafficking firearms (no time frame suggested).

The resolution also contains wording for the province to: “consider intervention efforts such as support for children and families at risk for gun violence, as well as programs to assist children to succeed in school, recreational opportunities, drug rehabilitation programs, and training/work opportunities to counter the culture of gun-related violence.”

Atherley Bridge

Artist’s Concept, Atherley Bridge

A third notice of motion is from councillor Tim Lauer. The Atherley Narrows rail bridge has long been a focus of the Mnjikaning Fish Fence Circle and the Orillia Snowmobile Club for some kind of action to provide a trail. Ramara Township and the Chippewas of Rama are funding partners with the City on several studies.

Lauer would like council to approve obtaining a quitclaim deed from Canadian National Railways and the federal government in order to remove the bridge next year (it has been determined it cannot, despite its historical significance, be rehabilitated for use at this site), and to OK preparation of a 2020 budget request to move along with the second phase of the project, removal of the rail bridge. He also asking for permission to have Orillia staff assist Ramara in their corresponding quitclaim actions.

There is still $17,000 left of the budget approved in 2015 which Lauer believes will cover legal and survey expense for this matter. The City’s new 10 year capital forecast system has $500,000 plugged in for design and construction documentation in 2020 and $1 million in 2021 for actual construction. It is expected other levels of government will also be contributing toward construction costs.

Consent Agenda

Conveniently, there is a letter on the consent agenda from the federal ministry of infrastructure announcing a new Community, Culture and Recreation component to the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program. It is available to, “Municipalities, First Nations and off-reserve Indigenous communities, broader public sector and non-profit organizations.” The application deadline is Nov. 12, 2019, so it may be too early for the Atherley Narrows bridge project.

There will be a special council meeting at 6:45 p.m. regarding tax appeals.

(Images Supplied)


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